A Rooster can be a very good thing to have in your flock for many reasons. However, there are some things about roosters that you should be aware of before you consider one. In this article, I will include information on the benefits, as well as concerns, of having/caring for a rooster.
Important note: Roosters are illegal in certain neighborhoods. Check your local neighborhood ordinances first. You can read more about the legalization of Back-yard chickens at The Chicken Chick.🐥
A rooster has a specific job in the normal every day functioning and productivity of the flock. Since a rooster’s primary rolls revolve around his hens, those roles can either neatly coincide or cause conflict with people. This is largely why it is beneficial to know what a rooster will contribute to your flock. Being prepared and knowing what to expect may help prevent difficulty later on. 🐓
The Benefits of Having a Rooster in your Backyard Flock:
Roosters watch out for the hens and help keep them from danger. 👁
When a roosters perceives a threat, he will make short, staccato clucking sounds that send the hens running for cover. If any of his flock does not get the message, he will round them up and take them to safety himself (sometimes at the expense of his own safety).
An adult Rooster may fight to the death for his flock. 🦅🐺🦉
Although even a big rooster may not seem very lethal, believe me, he can be! A rooster will often use his spurs, beak and even wings to bring harm upon threats. In spite of looks, he could injure or deter foxes, raccoons and even birds of prey away from his flock.
A Rooster Will Alert You When he Feels That his Flock is Threatened. 🐓⁉️
He will often do this via crowing, cackling and generally raising a ruckus. This can be a massive help if there are animals in your area that would harm a chicken (given the chance). Believe me, he’ll let you know.
A Rooster can be a Source of Stability and Security for the Flock as a Whole and may Keep the Hens at Ease. 🐣🍃🌸
Roosters like to keep the flock in seeing distance of themselves. They will often lead the flock to the best foraging area and watch to make sure none of the hens wander off to far. A good rooster will often ‘tidbit’ when hen finds something tasty to eat. ‘Tid-bitting’ is a self sacrificial behavior that involves bringing hens whatever yummies he finds. Roosters will often this no matter how tempting the morsels might be.
You Could Hatch Your Own Chicks. 🐣🐥🐓
Having a rooster will give you the capability to hatch your own eggs (if you have a broody hen or an artificial brooder). However, there is no guarantee that all of the eggs will be fertilized.
The Concerns of Having a Rooster in your Backyard Flock:
A Rooster Could Perceive You or Other Humans as a Threat. 👩🏼🌾🐓⁉️
This will cause him to display overly aggressive behavior towards people. Many cockerels (even some that are raised around people) can become aggressive once they reach adulthood. Since genetics play a big part in how territorial the rooster will be, you can’t really be certain if a he will be aggressive towards people or not until he has fully matured. If an aggressive rooster is a major concern for you, you can get an adult rooster that you have met and know to not be overly aggressive. Some breeds are also less territorial than others (Silkies, Welsummers and Orpingtons are good examples of generally docile breeds). Game roosters are often more aggressive.
Roosters can be Choosy About Their Hens. 🚫🐓
In the wild, chickens (called jungle fowl) survived by staying hidden. To maintain a low profile in the undergrowth, the roosters would cull brightly colored hens. Although this is not an issue for most roosters, it can be for some and you may not know if he permits certain colors in his flock until he reaches adulthood. Colors that are at the most risk are black/white patterned (barred/silver-laced), albino and brightly spotted.
Contrary to Popular Myth, Roosters do not Just Crow in the Morning. 🐓☀️
Particularly when young cockerels begin to crow, they may crow at odd times in the night until their schedule settles. Noise and commotion often trigger crowing so keep roosters away from main roads and bright lights at night. I go into more detail about crowing and how to minimize the frequency of crowing in my article on ‘Why Roosters Crow’.
A Rooster Can Cause Damage if he is Overly Stressed. ☹️🐓‼️
If the flock has multiple roosters, is threatened or kept near busy/loud/public areas, a rooster may get nervous. This can result in stress, which may cause him repeatedly mount his hens and/or pick on them. This nervous behavior will further stress the flock, cause decreased egg production, skittish behavior and abrasions/feather loss on the hens. Stress can also be caused by over-crowding. For this reason, I advise allowing extra space for flocks with a rooster.
Important Note: If you own a rooster, the hens that he is allowed with will experience some feather-thinning. This usually occurs on the saddle feathers (lower back) and hackle feathers (head). It is when the hens’ backs bald and/or become damaged that it becomes an issue. If abrasions are found on the hens’ backs, take note of the paragraph below and consider separating the injured hens until they are recovered.
Roosters Sometimes Need their Spurs Trimmed. 🐓⚠️
In the wild, spurs are used to fight other roosters. They are also used for protection against predators. Backyard roosters today do not use them nearly as much as their wild cousins. This is why spur trimming can be very important. The frequency that spurs need to be trimmed varies. Some roosters never have an issue with spur overgrowth. However, some need their spurs trimmed rather frequently to keep them at a reasonable length. Since the need for spur-trimming is not consistent bird-to-bird, I advise checking them from time-to-time. Keeping spurs in check can be highly beneficial to the whole flock. Overly long spurs can cause damage to the hens’ saddle feathers, stress and even injury. 😯